Wow — That was stressful

I want to be honest. The liveaboard lifestyle is not a zero-stress, grand vacation. It’s low-stress. And the stress is of a fundamentally different kind than the stress people who have jobs (or struggle with unemployment) suffer. The stress of living on a sailboat may be a better stress, if that makes sense.

Weather, for example, is a big stressor. Nothing can be done about it. The stress is not one of “I hate my job but I can’t quit” kind of daily frustration. It’s the stress of “oops, rain today, guess we’ll adjust our schedule.”

Equipment Failure, for example, is another big stressor. Since we’ve been doing a lot of our own work on Red Ranger, equipment failures are not “I hate that stupid plumber who kept me out of work for a day, costing me 8 hours of paid work” kind of frustration. It’s the stress of “oops, I guess I have to go up the mast to replace that. Again.”

Public services, for example, are another big stressor. Since we don’t have a vehicle, we’re big on public transportation. And public docks. And roomy dumpsters. And available water supplies. We wee the folks who struggle to get to work with combination of bus and bike. We’ve missed the last ferry across the Elizabeth River, and been forced to buy an expensive taxi ride. But we can afford to make a few mistakes.

This week we had a Quad Threat of stress.

  1. Equipment Failure. Scout was unusable. Fixing a Hypalon inflatable is challenging technical work. We have the adhesives and fabric. But. It’s the kind of thing that’s better done in a controlled environment, not on the pitching deck of a boat.
  2. Weather. Monday’s weather was predicted to be epic foul weather. 20g30 meaning “20 kts gusting to 30 kts.”  That means Red Ranger pitching as if we were at sea. 
  3. Services. And the shuttle boat can’t run. Scout is in Dinghy Hospital at Lifeline Inflatables.
  4. Work. Yes. I had an inquiry that was too appealing to beg off on. Rather than try to do a job interview from Red Ranger, I booked a room with Regus on Tuesday to do some work-related things.

(Quad Threat is not “quadratic.” If it was truly quadratic, then aggregate stress, y = ∑ ax2+bx+c for each stressor, x.)

Watching the weather on Monday, we saw that Tuesday was going to be almost as bad: 15g20. No Scout. No Shuttle. And an expensive Regus room booked.

The good news?

Tuesday’s bad weather blew through before 11:00. It was an epic storm, but brief. Mercifully brief.

The shuttle operator at Dinner Key Mooring Facility had heard our sad, sad story all weekend. Friday, he helped us take Scout ashore. Saturday and Sunday we talked on the radio about whether or not the shuttle could run. Monday, it didn’t run. 

Tuesday, we got to shore. Used the Regus room. Just barely got back to the boat on the last shuttle trip at 17:00.

And Kenny the Dinghy Wizard called from Lifeline. He (eventually) found a small puncture in Scout. It’s patched. It’s holding air.

On Wednesday, we celebrated the end of that big pile of stress. We took the Avenue 22 bus up to Lifeline and picked up Scout. It was on the workshop floor, fat with air. Yes! No further deflation.

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We brought Scout back to Red Ranger. Had hugs all around.

Things are back to normal. We have our usual stresses back again.

Our ordinary weather concerns. Our normal list of repairs. Or core jobs — water, showes, laundry, food — that make life challenging but not wickedly stressful. 

© Steven Lott 2020